Feature Blogs

The Best & Worst Movies Of 2008

Created on Tuesday, 16 December 2008 21:00
Written by Matthew Toomey


Worst Films Of 2008


One of my favourite parts of any year is putting together a list of my favourite and most hated movies. It’s my way of closing off their cinematic year and honouring/trashing those films that I enjoyed the most. You can check out my previous best and worst lists on my website.


There’s no right or wrong answers when it comes to compiling these lists. We’ve all got different tastes and no two lists will ever be the same. There’ll be some out there who will agree with most of my selections and there’ll be some who think the exact opposite. That’s part of the reason why I love going to the movies.


I don’t want to spend too much time dwelling on the awful movies of 2008 so let me get this part of the process out of the way quickly. Here are the worst flicks of 2008…


10. Superhero Movie


Three of the films on my worst 10 list are spoof movies. In other words, they try to make fun of other, more popular flicks. These kind of movies can be funny and perfect examples would be Flying High and The Naked Gun. Unfortunately, these kind of movies can also be mind-numbingly painful. Superhero Movie falls into the later category.


9. Made Of Honour


I admit that the romantic comedy genre is one of my least favourite but how could any fan find this entertaining? Starring Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan, this far-fetched plot gets sillier and sillier as it goes on. Don’t get me started about the ending!


8. 10,000 B.C.


10,000 B.C. was some kind of teen orientated action film set in prehistoric times. Interesting idea, horrible execution. Director Roland Emmerich has made some pretty bad films in his time (The Day After Tomorrow, The Patriot, Godzilla) but this is easily his worst.


7. Transylvania


I remember seeing this French film at the now closed Dendy George Street cinemas in front of a packed audience. Half way through, I wanted to stand up and yell out – “does anyone have any idea what the hell is going on?” I held my tongue, watched the final parts of the film pan out, and then left the cinema in a confused state of digust.


6. Hope


An Australian documentary about 400 asylum seekers who escaped Indonesia and tried to make it to Australia on a dodgy-looking boat. Only 7 would make it alive. It may sound harsh to be including such a sombre real-life story amongst my bottom 10 list but I hated the way the film was put together and don’t know what point the filmmakers were trying to make. Amateurish.


5. Feast Of Love


I’d like to start using expletives at this point but I’ll keep things clean and refrain from doing so. Feast Of Love is a tedious romantic drama about a group of couples and their ups and downs. It may have boasted a stellar cast but this was as boring as it gets.


4. Saw V


Saw IV was my 4th worst movie of 2007. Saw V is now my 4th worst movie of 2008. I believe another sequel is set to be released next year. Can we please put this slasher series to bed? It was original at first but it’s now well beyond its expiry date.


3. Meet The Spartans


Another spoof movie and if you can believe it, it was even worse than Superhero Movie. If this is considered funny, then I belong in a world that I don’t understand.


2. Disaster Movie


See comments from Superhero Movie. See comments from Meet The Spartans. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.


1. The Love Guru


This Mike Meyers comedy which also starred Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake and Ben Kingsley was a disgrace. The word on the street is that it’ll pick up several Golden Raspberry Awards (honouring the worst in cinema) next year. I saw it with two friends who were equally horrified. It’s just one bad joke after another and I can’t believe that Mike Meyers, who was fantastic in the Austin Powers series, could ever feature in my worst film of the year. Well, he now has.



Best Films Of 2008


Before I get to my top 10 for this year, I have to name a few honourable mentions. They were great movies but I couldn’t squeeze them into my list. They are American Gangster, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Lust Caution, 3:10 To Yuma, Charlie Wilson’s War, In The Valley Of Elah, Before The Devil Knows Your Dead, The Band’s Visit, The Dark Knight, WALL-E, Kung Fu Panda, Waltz With Bashir, The Painted Veil, Last And The Real Girl, Tropic Thunder, Man On Wire and Body Of Lies. Wow, that’s a lot.


In all, I’ve seen 214 films in 2008 (and there’s still a few more to go). At this point in time though, my top 10 films for the year (in reverse order) are…


10. Hunger


Based on actual events, Hunger was the story of a man who went on a hunger strike in a Northern Ireland jail in 1981. I really enjoyed this film’s style – it is split into 3 distinct parts. It’s tough to watch in places but this was a movie that left a powerful emotional impact.


9. Australia


Say what you will but I thought Australia was a wonderful movie. I saw it for a second time with two friends last weekend and they both hated it. It comes back to what I was saying earlier about different tastes. It wasn’t a perfect movie but I think it was a great way to spend 3 hours in a movie theatre – it had action, suspense, laughs and a decent story. Well done Baz.


8. Happy-Go-Lucky


Happy-Go-Lucky was an English comedy/drama about a 30-year-old primary school teacher who is always happy. The problem is that her enthusiasm for life doesn’t always rub off on the people around her. In fact, she infuriates them. With an amazing performance from Sally Hawkins, I really enjoyed this Mike Leigh film which asks interesting questions about our conformist society.


7. The Counterfeiters


Winner of the Academy Award for best foreign language film, The Counterfeiters was a German movie which focuses on a group of Jewish prisoners who stay alive in a Nazi concentration camp by helping produce counterfeit bank bills. I liked the moral issues which are explored here. These guys are saving their own necks but is it coming at a long term cost?


6. The Visitor


With a terrific performance from Richard Jenkins, The Visitor was the tale of a lonely, widowed man who finds his life reinvigorated when he befriends two illegal immigrants in New York City. Things change quickly though when one is arrested and locked up in detention centre. Sure it has a few political points to make but ultimately, this is a moving story about a group of good-natured people.


5. The Diving Bell And The Butterfly


The Diving Bell And The Butterfly tells a beautiful yet tragic story. It’s the true story of a French journalist who had a stroke and was paralysed from head-to-toe. He could only move his left eye. By using a series of blinks, he learned to communicate and with the help of a translator, he wrote the book on which this film is based. The visuals are amazing and it brought a tear to my eye.


4. Burn After Reading


My favourite type of movie is a black comedy and Burn After Reading is as black as it gets. It’s a crazy tale about a group of dumb and unlikeable people who get caught up in a bizarre world of deception and espionage. It could only have come from the mind of the Coen brothers. It was a love / hate movie and I was definitely in the love camp. Brad Pitt was the pick of the stellar cast.


3. There Will Be Blood


From my favourite director, Paul Thomas Anderson, came a stunning new movie with the performance of the year from Daniel Day Lewis. It is set in the early part of the 20th Century and focuses on a ruthless oil tycoon. He wasn’t out to win friends – all he wanted was wealth and power. This film had it all and won two Oscars earlier in the year.


2. Persepolis


Persepolis was my favourite animated film of the year, my favourite foreign language film of the year and my favourite black and white film of the year. Based on the autobiographical novel written by Marjane Satrapi, this beautiful movie looks at a young girl and her upbringing in Iran. There’s a lot of tension and the film ends on a perfect note. This is a film I won’t forget in a hurry.


1. Juno


I saw Juno in December 2007 at a preview screening and it was released in January 2008. When I first saw it, I had a hunch it’d be my favourite film of the year and that prediction has held up. It has the key ingredients that I look for in any movie – originality and intelligence. Juno McGuff is a pregnant 16-year-old high school girl who has to deal with issue “way beyond her maturity level.” I’ve seen this film several times since and it continues to hit all the right notes with me. It is without question, my top flick of 2008.

Thanks to everyone who has read the Film Pie newsletter and visited the website during the year. Have a merry Christmas and a great start to the New Year!